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Nicola Blackwood raises the issue of domestic abuse against women and men in her maiden speech

Nicola Blackwood Commons Nicola Blackwood defeated Lib Dem MP Evan Harris in Oxford West and Abingdon at the general election, a man who she said in her maiden speech "never put popularity above principle".

She concentrated her remarks during the Queen's Speech debate on a serous matter that particularly resonates in her constituency:

"Despite chronic under-reporting, research shows that domestic abuse accounts for 16% of violent crime. It affects one in four women and one in six men. Despite the fact that most people still think of it as a women’s issue, a third of victims are men.

"The social and economic impact of domestic abuse is becomingly increasingly unsustainable. Domestic abuse claims more repeat victims—that is more police time and more repeat visits to A and E—than any other crime. It leads to the murder of four women and one man a fortnight, and affects four children in every class of 30. All that costs our economy an estimated £23 billion a year, and front-line services bear the brunt. In the current economic climate, that will only get worse. United Nations research has confirmed what common sense has told us for years: unemployment and financial instability exacerbate domestic abuse.

"Surely if those on both sides of the Chamber can agree on anything, it is that no one should fear being raped or beaten in their own home, forced into marriage or killed in the name of honour. However, there are still worrying gaps in provision. In theory, the introduction of sexual assault referral centres is a good thing, but the nearest one for us is in Slough—a long way to go for someone who has been brutally raped. To add insult to injury, my local rape crisis centre currently faces a funding crisis. There is also the gender problem. Although roughly a third of victims are male, only 1% of refuge space is available for men. In Oxfordshire, there is no provision for male victims fleeing domestic abuse."

You can watch the whole speech below.

Jonathan Isaby


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